Learn more about preventive services covered under the ACA at: HHS.Gov
On July 30, 2013, the Health Connector launched a new microsite or mini-website, for Massachusetts residents who are interested in learning more about the changes that will be happening under the ACA. The new mini-website, linked from the Health Connector's current website, includes information for Massachusetts individuals and small businesses about upcomong ACA changes and introduces visitors to the site to the Health Connector's new marketplace that will officially launch on October 1, 2013.
There are also a number of links on the site with information such as FAQs for individuals and employers in Massachusetts, a glossary of important "ACA terms" and upcoming forums and presentations where Health Connector staff will be present to answer questions about ACA implementation. The site is currently highlighting this year's summer health insurance open enrollment period. The information on the site will be frequently updated to reflect any changes and key milestones.
Visitors to the new microsite will also have the ability sign up for email notifications at: http://bettermahealthconnector.org/updates/sign-up-for-updates/
On July 18, 2013, Massachusetts submitted comments to HHS/CMS on the proposed rule called "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Program Integrity: Exchange, SHOP, Premium Stabilization Programs, and Market Standards." The goal of the proposed rule is to ensure access to affordable health insurance for consumers and to safeguard federal funds through program integrity activities.
The proposed rule describes standards for agents, brokers and health insurance issuers who provide services and supports in Federally-facilitated Exchanges. The proposed rule also requires that states collect information on their reinsurance and risk adjustment programs, provide this information to HHS and submit reports to the public on these programs. In addition, HHS proposes standards for the oversight of premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions that include the maintenance of records and annual reporting to HHS. HHS also provides flexibility by allowing states to run a state-based Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) while the federal government manages the individual market in the Federally-facilitated Exchange. The rule also establishes criteria for enrollee satisfaction survey vendors, standards for handling consumer complaints, consumer protections, and other activities to ensure smooth operation of the Health Insurance Exchange.
The ACA established Affordable Health Insurance Exchanges (§1311(b)) to provide individuals and small business employees with access to health insurance coverage beginning January 1, 2014, where low and moderate income Americans will be eligible for premium tax credits (§1401, §1411) to make purchasing a health plan more affordable by reducing out-of-pocket premium costs. §1311(b)(1)(B) requires that SHOP assist qualified small employers in facilitating the enrollment of their employees in qualified health programs (QHPs) offered in the small group market. QHPs are health plans that have been certified by an Exchange, provide essential health benefits (§1301) and follow established limits on cost-sharing (like deductibles, copayments, and out-of-pocket maximum amounts).
The ACA also directs the HHS Secretary to develop and administer a quality rating system and an enrollee satisfaction survey system, the results of which will be available to Exchange consumers shopping for insurance plans. In addition, the ACA established risk-mitigation programs to stabilize premiums in the individual insurance market and minimize the effects of adverse selection that may occur as insurance reforms and the Exchanges launch in 2014. These programs include reinsurance (§1341) and risk adjustment programs (§1343) to provide payments to health insurance issuers that cover higher-risk populations and to more evenly spread the financial risk borne by issuers.
The comment period has closed but a link to the June 19, 2013 Federal Register notice containing the proposed rule can be read at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-06-19/pdf/2013-14540.pdf
The Massachusetts comment letter can be read online at the Massachusetts national health reform website under the State and Federal Communications section at: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/eohhs/healthcare-reform/state-fed-comm/130718-comments-on-program-integrity.pdf
Massachusetts Health Homes Initiative Public Forum
August 22, 2013
1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Worcester Public Library, Saxe Room
3 Salem Street
Integrating Medicare and Medicaid for Dual Eligible Individuals Implementation Council Meeting
August 15, 2013
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
1 Ashburton Place, 21st Floor, Conference Rooms 1, 2 & 3
MBTA and driving directions to 1 Ashburton Place are located here: http://www.mass.gov/anf/employment-equal-access-disability/employee-prog-and-training/training-and-learning-dev/directions/boston-training-sites/one-ashburton-place.html
The Implementation Council welcomes attendance at its meetings from all stakeholders and members of the public with interest in the Demonstration. Reasonable accommodations will be made for participants who need assistance. Please send your request for accommodations to Donna Kymalainen at Donna.Kymalainen@state.ma.us.
Quarterly Affordable Care Act Implementation Stakeholder Meeting
September 16, 2013
1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
1 Ashburton Place, 21st Floor